Domestic Abuse Begins With The Thought “I’m The Man, What Will People Say?”

Abuse starts in the name of love and 'respect', in the name of family honour, in the name of protection, and society expects the women to bend.

Recently I watched 3 movies – The Teacher (Netflix), Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey (Hotstar), and Gutta Kushti (Netflix). All 3 show women facing everyday patriarchy in different forms from their family, their in-laws, their husband, the society in general and conditioned from childhood to accept abuse as part of their life.

Not just women, even young men are conditioned on how to behave with women and especially post marriage how to treat their wife in order to show their ‘manliness’. There is a lot of pressure and fear instilled in the men too to not let the women up close or show care and love to them, as it can lead to the ‘woman ruling the man’ and that is simply not done.

Abuse starts in the name of love, respect, ‘family honour’

“What will the society say?” fear is cast on both men and women and hence the abuser and abused find nothing wrong in their behaviour. This is what they see all around them, this is the advise they get from their elders and this is what is expected from them. This is very evident from the number of times the elders blackmail their children by talking about family honour and what will society say.

All these movies portray how abuse starts in the name of love, in the name of respect, in the name of family honour, in the name of protection, and every time the society expects the women to bend and take it in her stride because this is how it is supposed to be. Be it her education, her career, her partner choice, her kids… there are always the MEN in her life who have a right to take the decision as she has no agency over herself by virtue of being a girl. And the Men are expected to take that decision, for if they don’t they are considered weaklings and not MAN enough

The onus for ‘making the man understand’ also put on women – not Ok!

What was interesting for me in all the movies is the fact that eventually the women stood up for themselves and did what they had to. In two movies the men understood, while in another he did not. But where the man understood, an elder woman from the family had a big role to play in it. Which means that the onus to change the man and the way he thinks and behaves is also put largely on the woman.

Not debating right or wrong, but maybe if we want to change generations of conditioning and gender inequality, it seems that at this time at least, we as women have to take on the mantel. Start changing the experiences of our brothers, husbands, sons and any other man we come into contact with through conversations and actions.

These movies give me hope that the world is changing, as I believe the movies are a reflection of what is happening in the society and do influence the youth of today. So if Kabir Singh can influence the youth in a particular way, so can these movies. More power to the storytellers to make such powerful stories.

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About the Author

Deepti Arora

Strong believer in the power of conversations and finding comfort in uncomfortable conversations. Love to encourage both genders to break the chains of patriarchy and come into their own indentity. Also love exploring the space read more...

8 Posts | 5,390 Views

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